Soundex Rules

Surnames are coded according to the following rules.

  1. b,p,f,v
  2. c,s,k,g,i,q,x,z
  3. d,t
  4. l
  5. m,n
  6. r

The letters a,e,i,o,u,y,w, and h are not coded. The first letter of a surname is not coded.

Every Soundex number must be a 3-digit number. A name yielding no code numbers, as Lee, would thus be L000; one yielding only one code number would have two zeros added, as Kuhne, coded as K500; and one yielding two code numbers would have one zero added, as Ebell, coded as E140. Never are more than three digits used, so Ebelson would be coded as E142 not E1425.

When two key letters or equivalents appear together, or one key letter immediately follows or precedes an equivalent, the two are coded as one letter, by a single number, as follows: Kelly, coded as K400; Buerck, coded as B620; Lloyd coded as L300; and Schaefer, coded as S160.

When several surnames have the same soundex number they are arranged alphabetically by the given name.

Prefixes to surnames as: "VAN", "DI", "DE", "LE", "D", "DELA", or "DU" are usually included in the soundex coding.

Use caution, such prefixes to surnames are sometimes disregarded in alphabetizing and coding.

				Letters	Code
	Name			Coded	No.

	VANMETER		n,t,r	V 536
	VANJOHNSON		n,j,n	V 525
	VONVALKINBURG		n,v,l	V 514
	DEBARTOLA		b,r,t	D 163
	DECORTEZ		c,r,t	D 263
	LEMOND			m,n,d	L 553
	DHEMECOURT		m,c,r	D 526
	DELAROSA		l,r,s	D 462
	DUBOIS			b,s	D 120

The following names are additional examples of Soundex coding.

				Letters	Code
	Name			Coded	No.

	ALLRIGHT		l,r,c	A 462
	EBERHARD		b,r,r	E 166
	ENGEBRETHSON		n,g,b	E 521
	HEIMBACH		m,b,c	H 512
	HANSELMANN		n,s,l	H 524
	HENZELMANN		n,z,l	H 524
	HILDEBRAND		l,d,b	H 431
	KAVANAGH		v,n,g	K 152
	LUKASCHOWSKY		k,s,s	L 222
	MCDONNELL		c,d,n	M 235
	MCGEE			c	M 200
	OBRIEN			b,r,n	O 165
	OPNIAN			p,n,n	O 155
	OPPENHEIMER		p,n,m	O 155
	RIEDEMANAS		d,m,n	R 355
	VANLANDINGHAM		n,l,n	V 545
	ZITA			t	Z 300
	ZITZMEINN		t,z,m	Z 325

The above is presented for those who are interested in understanding the rules by which names are Soundexed. It is no longer necessary to convert surnames manually, since our Soundex Converter will do it for you.